Speaker pulls a Pontius Pilate on agriculture committee

April 1, 2015 4:34 pm
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Muturi said he cannot intervene in the matter because it is before the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission/FILE
Muturi said he cannot intervene in the matter because it is before the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi has refused to be drawn into the controversy surrounding the Agriculture Committee which has been on the spotlight following allegations that some of its members received a Sh4 million bribe to alter its report.

Muturi said he cannot intervene in the matter because it is before the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

“If the matter had been raised in the House or if indeed the Committee having dealt with the matter itself and arrived at some decision and then informed the House accordingly the matter would have been addressed within the parameters provided for in the Powers and Privileges Act and the Leadership and Integrity Act,” the Speaker said.

He added: “it is my belief that investigative agencies will look at specific allegations against each member of the committee and will then hold each member and every Member individually accountable. On this basis I desist on making a ruling on a matter that doesn’t fall within the mandate of the chair or even of the House for the moment.”

Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo, who is a member of the Agriculture Committee, had faulted the confidential report which was secretly prepared by the Commission CEO of unfairly condemning the House team of graft, instead of apportioning personal responsibility.

“We cannot be corrupt as a Committee as there is nothing like corporate corruption. There must be clear allegations linking members to corruption. The allegations must be credible. When the President spoke, we gave him a standing ovation, but in my view, he is either careless with the fight against corruption, or he was playing politics,” said Odhiambo.

Two members of the House team sensationally accused their chairman of receiving a Sh4 million bribe, in order to alter the recommendations of their report, the claimed was later retracted.

Committee chairman Adan Nooru has denied the allegations that he was paid to influence the outcome of a report on Mumias Sugar. However, the two MPs who had made those allegations have since withdraw them.

“Stepping aside of a Member is not in law. It is on the conscience of every Member who may be implicated to step aside. Let the law take its course. It is one Committee Member who is disoriented who wants to destroy the Committee and he doesn’t want to substantiate,” he said.

The Committee and the Ababu Namwamba-led Public Accounts Committee have been named in the EACC confidential list the President handed over to Parliament during his State of the Nation address last Thursday.

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